Avoiding multiple pregnancies in assisted reproductive technologies: transferring one embryo at a time should be the norm

Transferring one embryo at a time should become the norm with assisted reproductive technologies. Framing twins as a fortuitous event needs to stop. Discussion of the risks of the multiple pregnancy and financially favoring single embryo transfers may be part of the solution.

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VOLUME 114, ISSUE 4, P671-672


Cynthia Farquhar, M.B.Ch.B., M.D., M.P.H. 


Multiple pregnancies following fertility treatments typically occur in 30% of women in whom more than one embryo is transferred. Worldwide, fewer than 20 countries have fully funded public fertility treatments, and many women utilizing assisted reproduction technologies are transferring more than one embryo for financial reasons because they consider it will be cheaper to have two embryos transferred in the one procedure. Yet, there is a large body of evidence for the poorer health, economic, and social outcomes for mother and baby from multiple pregnancies. Some countries have reduced the multiple pregnancy rate to less than 5% by linking the funding of ART to policies where the large majority of transfers are single embryos.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.